Justin Rietz

Justin Rietz

Assistant Professor, Economics



What research questions currently preoccupy you?

What are the economic and psychological factors that make individuals and businesses willing to accept token money—money whose commodity value is significantly less than its exchange value—in exchange for valuable goods and services? This question is relevant to both existing fiat money systems and the growth of private currencies such as Bitcoin.

What personal factors contributed to your study of economics?

Though I studied economics as an undergraduate, it wasn't until I entered the Masters program at SJSU that I became deeply interested in my current research topics on the theory of money and monetary policy. This provided the impetus for continuing on to a Ph.D. program.

What has been most challenging in your research?

Too many interesting questions, too little time!

How has your position in SJSU contributed to your research?

My colleagues in the economics department have been fully supportive of my research, and I'm able to piggy-back off of their significant experience and expertise. Moreover, the resources made available by the College of Social Sciences are invaluable for my experimental work.

A hidden (research) talent:

I'm a "data hound" and enjoy digging up arcane data sources.

One book that changed your life (or research) and why:

The Big Problem of Small Change by Sargent and Velde. This book had a major impact on my research as it convincingly explained a fascinating, historical narrative on coinage with a theoretical economic model.

A website/journal/newspaper (in your field?) you follow without fail:

Not surprisingly, The Economist.

Advice you’d give to newer faculty or students:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”—Thomas A. Edison